Day of surgery

  • You may eat and drink up until 2 hours before surgery.
  • Local anesthesia (Lidocaine with epinephrine injection to the elbow) will be given in the pre-operative area before going back to the operating room. The procedure itself lasts less than 2 minutes, but expect to be in the O.R. for about 20-30 minutes.
  • After the procedure you will have your arm placed in a sling and a dressing placed over the small incision. The sling stays on for 3 days, as does the dressing.
  • Upon getting home, please start taking anti-inflammatory medication. I recommend using Motrin 600-800mg three times a day (or something equivalent to Motrin, taken as directed), with extra-strength Tylenol every 6 hours.
  • Showering on the day of surgery or the first 2 days after requires the surgical dressing to be covered by a plastic bag.

Post-operative activities

  • Keep your arm in a sling for 3 days. No lifting, carrying, or pulling.
  • On the 3rd day after your surgery, you may remove the sling and wear your wrist brace for 3 weeks. You may remove the brace for showering, washing hands, or a routine break, but no significant wrist activity or exercises.
  • At 3 weeks after surgery, you will come back to the office for a visit. You may stop wearing the brace if you feel good, and sometime between weeks 3 – 6 you can start to increase your activity as your pain allows.
  • Wear your wrist brace for higher-risk activities for the first 6 weeks (driving, caring for small children, etc.)
  • Heavier activities such as vacuuming, mowing the yard, and moderate lifting may resume at 6 weeks.

Return to work

Timing of your return to work depends on the type of work you do and which hand was operated on.

  • Light desk work may resume in 3-4 days or when comfortable, but do not expect typing to be back to speed for 3-4 weeks.
  • Repetitive tasks may require 4-6 weeks before return to work, and heavy manual labor may require longer, perhaps up to 10-12 weeks after surgery.

When to notify your doctor

  • Though rare, infections can occur. Symptoms begin 3-5 days after surgery, and include redness about the incision, drainage, fevers, or chills. Some mild swelling and bruising around the surgery can be normal.
  • If you are concerned, please call the office at 940-299-HAND.